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Malaysia PM orders navy to rescue migrant boats

21 May 2015 11:05


The Malaysian prime minister has ordered the navy and coastguard to conduct search and rescue operations for boats carrying Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

“I have further ordered [the] Royal Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to conduct search and rescue efforts for Rohingya boats. We have to prevent loss of life,” Najib Razak said on his Facebook account on Thursday.

Meanwhile, On Wednesday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, at a joint press conference with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, announced that the two countries will offer shelter to thousands of migrants adrift at sea on rickety boats.

The foreign ministers of Malaysia and Indonesia earlier met with Thai Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn in the Malaysian capital to discuss the influx of migrants. Thailand, however, refrained from participating in the offer, with Tanasak saying he must check with his government first.

Malaysian intelligence estimates put the number of migrants still stranded at sea at about 7,000 people. More than 3,000 have landed in Malaysia and Indonesia in recent weeks.

Rohingya Muslims waiting for recognition in India

Meanwhile, hundreds of Rohingya refugee families, with no drinking water or sanitation facilities, are living in plastic tents across India, waiting for recognition, according to Press TV correspondent.

Rohingya Muslim refugees, known to the world as one of the most persecuted communities, live silently in different parts of India fearing expulsion. The community is living in ghettos without basic necessities and do menial jobs in order to survive.

“We are living in a foreign land, in years no one is responsible for our condition and they can’t do much for us… we might face eviction from India as well,” a Rohingya woman told Press TV’s correspondent.

The entire community has no decent jobs, nor do the children have schools to attend. A family hardly manages its daily meal, even children work for their own food, reports said.

“Firstly, there isn’t work available, unfortunately we are not skilled, there isn’t much for us to do and our children have no future,” said a Rohingya man.

Rohingyas persecuted in Myanmar

Rohingya and other Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years. A large number of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and tens of thousands displaced in attacks by extremists who call themselves Buddhists.

Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels them as “illegal” immigrants.

Rohingya Muslims have been denied Myanmar citizenship since a new citizenship law was enacted in 1982, and there have been a number of attacks on Rohingyas over the past year.

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